Being a single adult member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints presents both opportunities and challenges. As I try to become a more devoted disciple of Jesus Christ, I am grateful to find ways to build my faith by connecting with those around me who are also seeking to follow the Savior. To me, it’s like creating small “communities of faith” where together we can help each other strengthen our faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
At the Face to Face event for single adults in June 2021, Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles counseled single adults: “We have to find other people of faith. … In this world that we live [in], we [have] … to have other people of faith who we can connect with at the very deep level of our faith and talk openly about how our prayers are answered [and] how we feel the Holy Ghost. … You might get that from … your family, but … you [have] … to go out and find them!”1
As one of the participants in that event, I was placed in a group with six amazing disciples of Christ who have become some of my closest friends. Although our backgrounds, cultures, and personal situations are very different, we were united in our testimonies of Heavenly Father, the Savior, and the gospel. After the event concluded, we have continued to stay close friends. Our love for each other and our faith in Heavenly Father and the Savior help us continue to support each other through life’s ups and downs.
Having had such a positive experience in my own group of “faith friends” (as my Face to Face friends refer to ourselves), I created similar faith groups with my students in religion classes I teach at Brigham Young University. These groups start with diverse class members, both single and married and of different backgrounds and ages, who don’t know each other at first. I have been surprised at how quickly they connect and become appreciative of the opportunity to share their faith experiences together outside of class.
After over two years of COVID-19 difficulties, I’ve realized we all need more opportunities to create connections with others and include them in our lives. Sharing our faith with others is a way we can move against societal trends of loneliness and also “strengthen our personal spiritual foundations.”2
As single members of the Church who often don’t live with other members, we may have to make more effort to find people of faith to share our experiences with, but as President Russell M. Nelson has said, “the Lord loves effort.”3 He will help us as we try to do so. Here are a few ways single members can build these communities of faith and how other members of the Church can support them in their efforts.
We can create a community of faith with our ministering companions and with those we minister to. We can pray with them and build a relationship by talking with them about the day-to-day issues of their lives, discussing spiritual insights, and even inviting them to activities outside of church.
We can better connect with our brothers and sisters by being a friend who is available to discuss spiritual topics, something many members do not have regardless of marital status.
We might also ask for their perspective on gospel issues we have questions about or on a recent Church lesson. These discussions can bless their lives and ours as we reach out to each other to increase our faith and testimonies.
President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, reminded us that every ward member, including those who are single, “has God-given gifts and talents that can help build up His kingdom now.
“Let us call upon our members who are single to serve, lift, and teach. Disregard old notions and ideas that have sometimes unintentionally contributed to their feelings of loneliness and that they do not belong or cannot serve.”4
As we serve in the Church, we can strengthen communities of faith in our areas of influence.
During one of the most difficult times of my divorce, I was called to serve as an institute teacher. I wondered how I could effectively serve when I was facing such enormous challenges in my personal life. But as I prepared lessons, I was strengthened in my own difficulties and could empathize with my students’ difficulties. I came to know my young single adult institute students over those several years, and the testimonies they shared gave me courage as I tried to move the mountains in my life.5
We can strengthen and be strengthened by a community of faith in our Church organizations, including Relief Society and elders quorum. This will require our best efforts. President M. Russell Ballard has pointed out that more than half of the adults in the Church today are single for a variety of reasons.6 My faith is always strengthened as I see single brothers and sisters reach out to each other at church and in their personal lives.
When a single adult friend of mine moved to a new geographic ward where he did not know anyone, his way of creating a community of faith was through service. He actively volunteered for elders quorum projects, from helping people move to assisting older members. As he did, he was able to get to know the members of his quorum and the people they were serving—both members and neighbors. He shared his faith and developed friendships with his new community.
I felt similar friendship and service one Sunday when I was sitting in sacrament meeting alone without my daughter during a holiday weekend. My recently widowed friend left her adult children and came to sit by me. My own faith was strengthened as I thought about the faith she has shown in the difficult experience of suddenly losing her husband this past year. The sisterhood we share through Relief Society has helped us gain strength.
We can connect with others through creative ways in gospel discussion groups, particularly focused on Come, Follow Me.7 One single sister I know has created a Come, Follow Me study group with friends from several wards. They meet in person on Sundays to share experiences, answer questions, and support each other. Another single friend is part of several gospel discussion groups with his married friends, each of whom he considers “family.” Although my friend is the only single adult member in these groups, he sees each person as an individual who contributes to the testimony strengthening of the group.
Additionally, organizing online Come, Follow Me discussion groups with single friends is more possible than ever with technological advancements. And if you’re not quite sure where to start, remember that as members of the Lord’s Church, “We can … awake to a new life in Christ, with new and marvelous possibilities and new realities as we turn to the Lord for hope and belonging.”8
More than 30 years ago, my family moved to France where my parents served as mission leaders. After all these years, I continue to be strengthened by the faith of our former Bordeaux missionaries, whom I rarely see in person but interact with regularly online. They frequently share their faith and testimonies and continue to encourage me as they did all those years ago.
We can share our faith on social media as well, engaging our “friend” community in online faith discussions in ways we might never be able to in person. We can also participate in our Church leaders’ social media dialogue, taking time to fully read their messages and share them with others.
President Nelson has said, “Faith in Jesus Christ is the greatest power available to us in this life.”9 As we seek to build stronger communities of faith, we can deepen our testimony of the Savior and help each other progress on the covenant path. We can work to minimize loneliness for ourselves and others as we choose to connect and share our faith, thereby strengthening our spiritual foundations.